The jousting between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena reached a crescendo with state BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar warning the ally that if it continued to attack BJP leaders, it would have severe repercussions in the 2012 municipal elections in Mumbai and Nashik.
“All these statements are having a serious effect on the morale of the party cadre. I would like to tell the Shiv Sena if such statements are not stopped it will have serious repercussions in the upcoming municipal corporation elections,” Mungantiwar told the Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
Mungantiwar stopped short of threatening to break the two-decade-old alliance, which has been severely strained over the past few years with leaders of both parties openly attacking each other.
The latest tiff was between Jalgaon strongman Suresh Jain and senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse.
“Khadse is the most corrupt politician. There should be an inquiry into how he has procured so much property,” Jain, a Sena legislator, said.
Although Jain has not been with the Sena for long, he is very close to party executive president, Uddhav Thackeray.
Khadse, the leader of opposition and one of the most important leaders of the BJP in the state, and Jain have been in a feud for political supremacy in Jalgaon, their hometown.
The tension between the two intensified after the defeat of Khadse’s son, Nikhil, in the recent Legislative Council elections. Khadse blamed his son’s defeat on Jain, who supported the winning candidate, Manish Jain.
Sena leader Neelam Gorhe refused to comment. Mungantiwar wanted to meet Balasaheb but couldn’t because Balasaheb is unwell and Uddhavsaheb is engaged in other matters,” she said.
The relationship between the two parties had reached breaking point after Thackeray’s estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, Raj Thackeray, visited the BJP state headquarters for tea. Thackeray and Sena chief Bal Thackeray, demanded an explanation from the BJP for this.
They could be pacified only after a call from senior BJP leader LK Advani.
In December 2009 too the allies had squared off against each other with former leader of opposition Ramdas Kadam even calling the BJP “treacherous.”